Even though it has been a few months since Google merged with Google Places to become Google Local, there is some confusion as to exactly what this new entity would grow to be. No longer. One shining example of what is possible for small business is the Google business page for BakeSpace.com. They’ve utilized all of the features such as hangouts, video and more to garner more than 330,000 users inside their circles. Companies are waking up to the massive opportunity that lies within Google Local and are finding fantastic ways to use it for finding buyers and prospects.

Let’s discover you can do that too! Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Make your Google Local page stand out! – The most crucial element of this is to ensure that your page is totally filled out. Be sure you complete all text areas that are asked for, as this is important to Google. Use plenty of images, since the ranking of your page appears to hinge on how many images and videos it has. Not to mention that you’re able to present a terrific visual of your site and wares.
  • Use the search function to prospect – Using Google to look for prospects and hook up with potential customers is incredibly easy! The search bar at the top of your Google page can help you find folks that are discussing your niche or company. Add them to your Circles and begin the connection process!
  • Engage with Google Communities or video – A very good way to leverage your Google Local page is by engaging directly with your people in Google ‘Communities’ or via video chats. One amazing example of a company that has gotten this down is Cadbury. You can also lead people to enticing offers and coupons which can be accessed directly from your website. This is an brilliant method to convert Google visitors to onsite buyers.
  • Use Google Hangouts as a media channel – There are a variety of ways to use this versatile tool to pump up your business. You can conduct webinars, training sessions, online press conferences, offer free consults (related to your business) and possibly even host your own show. Google records these sessions, sends you the file, which you can then upload to YouTube. Beginning to see the possibilities?

I hope you’re realizing the possibility of what Google along with Google Local, YouTube and the rest of the Google suite can do for your business. Get started on Google Local today!

5 Powerful Online Reputation Management Strategies You Can Count On

Spend any time wondering about your online reputation management? That’s what I suspected! According to a study by Erik Qualman of Socialnomics.com nearly three-quarters of consumers report they trust the information provided by online reviews. Also some 80 percent have changed their mind about choosing a product after reading only one negative review online, and more than 84 percent reveal the fact that they see online reviews as being a trusted source of information.

This adds up to one simple fact: when those negative reviews or complaints appear, (and they will!) you need to take them very seriously and take countermeasures to reduce the negative effects!

Let’s have a look at five proven strategies to do that.

  1. Look at your brand’s search results frequently – Look at your company’s name in Google at least once a month. Google Alerts can be helpful to let you know if there is any conversation regarding you, your company name or your important keywords. Be sure to look beyond page one, as damaging entries may be lurking there on their way higher.
  2. Respond to negative content promptly – Make an effort to contact the source of the negative content as soon as possible, especially if they are a disappointed customer. Be polite, helpful, and seek to address their concerns in a positive manner. DO NOT get into a flaming match with them. You will be the loser every time!
  3. Optimize your pages with your company name – Make certain your company’s name is prominent within your optimization, especially in keywords, tags, and titles. The greater number of of your site’s pages that bear your name, the more chances Google will see your site as the authority for this keyword (your company name) and rank you higher, particularly because most negative content won’t have done any SEO.
  4. Create more content channels with your brand – You can use free blogs like WordPress.com, Blogger.com or even subdomains of your own site for this, along with your social channels such as YouTube, Facebook, and Google , will help keep your company name prominent. Post fresh content to these channels also, so they hold on to their search positions.
  5. Ask for reviews – Your very best option for an effective online reputation management tool is to ask your best customers for reviews. Don’t be pushy, but encourage and even reward reviews. This is also your best source of social proof!

Follow these tips to defend your good name! Trust us…you’ll be glad you did.

Use these marketing automation tools to free up time and money.

When marketing your small business online is truly looked at and laid bare, it’s hard to ignore the mountain of tasks that face you and your staff every day. Feelings of being overwhelmed and the uncomfortable suspicion that you’re forgetting something are always present. Every one of us face this. Online marketing is monstrously complex beast, and to tame it you have to employ some forms of marketing automation to handle the amount of moving parts that marketing in multiple channels necessitates. Not doing this is practically choosing not to compete. Let’s examine some ways we can apply marketing automation.

Cool tools for marketing automationautomate your services

There are oodles of great tools available that you can spend your time and money on, for our purposes here I’m going to concentrate on three areas that can be enormous time sucks and possess the most potential for return on investment.

Email Auto-Responders – Possibly the most important thing to automate, as without employing this type of tool you’ve got virtually no hope of building a customer email list. Loading up your autoresponder with marketing messages can help you give both new customers and prospects alike the feeling that they are being well cared for. There are several great email companies out there that will handle this seamlessly for you, such as AWeber, GetResponse, iContact, MailChimp and more.

Social Media – Checking and running social media campaigns can be a logistical nightmare if you’re not using some sort of tool. There are plenty of good ones out there that enable you to keep track of and post to your social platforms. Take a look at HootSuite, TweetDeck and Buffer.

Automate tasks As we all know there are lots of small tasks that need attention daily, or the entire house of cards may fall down! Some of the better tools to come down the pike of late are the development of task masters like IFTTT and Zapier. These tools, (similar in intent and application) can be lifesavers in regards to automating tasks between two different services. Very handy, indeed!

Be mindful that you’re not automating too many aspects, especially customer service. Specific things require your touch, and this is one of them. Do yourself and your business a favor and look into automating at least some of your online business today!